A Customer Service Guide For Small Businesses
Customer Service

A Customer Service Guide For Small Businesses

Nine things small businesses should take care of to ace their customer service and get ahead in the game from their competitors.

Sanjoli Jain

01-03-2022

5 Min

For any business, customer service excellence is one of the most effective ways to build and sustain a competitive advantage. However, for small businesses, there are arguably more things at stake. When you’re a small business or just starting up, every disappointed customer is potentially a disaster and can cause severe damage to your reputation. On the contrary, every happy customer provides your businesses with the most important marketing you could ever hope to have.

Let’s dig in before any further ado. I know you’re busy putting out multiple fires all around you, so I’m going to limit this to a bullet-point format. Here are nine things small businesses should take care of to ace their customer service:

1. Strong and Data-backed Decision Making

Great customer service largely depends on data-backed decision-making. You cannot have great customer service until you make this essential decision and, more importantly, do it right. While making this decision, you need to put the customer at the center of everything you do. And you must do it professionally! This includes scheduling your time, designing your processes, and refining important parts of your support. This also includes inculcating customer-centricity in your business. It is easier when you’re small. And if you inculcate these qualities in the roots, you’ll reap unbelievable results when you scale.

2. Be Authentic

Small businesses can make the most of their advantages when it comes to customer service. This is because they’re closer to the customer and can afford to give a personal touch to their services. This makes them more authentic than their large-scale counter competitors. You can make the most loyal customers out of your business as a small business.

Besides, if your competitors are doing it, you must do it too. And customers expect small businesses to go a little over the top to delight them. For example, a customer may be fine with a Starbucks asking for their name to put on the cup. But when it comes to a similar small business, they will expect you to not only know their name but also some details (based on the customer’s previous purchases.) If you’re able to understand and fulfill these needs, your business will seem more authentic than ever.

3. Empower Your Service With Data Analytics

Data combined with human strategies will always work.

Despite the changes in the customer service realm, this golden rule reigns supreme.

Data analytics bridge the gap between agents and their way of providing service with a full context. Data analytics and reporting features bring all the data together and ease their tasks. It also improves collaboration.

Machines learn from millions of data points and make endless tactical changes. Humans learn from a single data point and make strategic changes.

Mark Simpson

CEO, Acoustic

By realizing the rising trends and roadblocks, small businesses can learn and unlearn a lot of tactics and strategies. Creating a seamless segue between your support data and support strategies will lead to better customer experiences. It’ll lead to higher brand loyalty. Plus, the data will improve your outreach efforts to increase brand awareness. And only the right tools will help you bring your data and strategies together.

Read more: Why Small Businesses Need SMB Customer Support Software.

4. Keep You Current Software Up-to-Date

Businesses often switch to new helpdesk software because their old tools lack certain functionality they need. Be it omnichannel support, self-service features, or integrating your social media to your helpdesk, the right small business helpdesk software can take you places! This can come to benefit small businesses the most because you have the flexibility to keep trying new software until you find your perfect match.

This brings me to a question that each small business owner and stakeholder must ask. If you decide to upgrade from your small business ticketing system, what features would you need? I’ve bulleted some common, must-have features for you:

  • Self-service features
  • Omnichannel interface
  • Personalized dashboard
  • Shared inbox
  • Chatbots
  • Ticket hierarchies
  • Service level agreements
  • Data analytics and reporting
DeskXpand For Speed and Consistency

An ideal customer support team aims at responding to and resolving customer conflicts productively and effectively. Pick your small business helpdesk software wisely.

5. Support Resource Management

Your support agents are the lifeblood of customer service. Further, for a small business, if a single employee feels unappreciated or uninspired (what if they take that out on the customer?) can be a catastrophe. On the positive side, if a single employee has the spirit to serve and is well-trained and customer-oriented, that can make all the difference.

As a leader, it is your job to empower your employees in a healthy way. You need to cheer them on so they can do better and keep doing better.

6. Online Reputation

As a small business, you must be aware of your online reputation. It is incredibly important and is one of the best ways to engage with your customers. You can monitor social media, set up Google alerts, to get an idea of what people are saying about your business. It is always a good strategy to respond to these complaints on time.

No one wants dissatisfied customers but when you get one, take it as an opportunity to understand where you can improve your customer support. You can also analyze the complaint trend every week or month (depending on the number of complaints you receive. If you understand the root cause of the issue, you can take the necessary steps to fix it.

7. Structure Your Customer Feedback Into Your Strategies

It is very easy to lose a conversation thread when your team is juggling multiple support queries. This is where the importance of investing in a good small business ticketing system reflects most importantly. Your customer service tools can automate your tasks, structure your customer data, and keep track of your unresolved issues.

With a small business helpdesk software system in place, your support team can also work on the customer feedback after their query resolution. You can automate your feedback collecting process and work on them when you have time. You can also keep the customers in the loop while you work on the feedback and let them know whenever you finish working on it.

8. Don’t Forget Customer-Centricity

You cannot have the best customer service unless you make your support customer-centric. Being a customer-centric business means putting your customers or potential customers at the heart of every decision you make. Whenever it comes to decision making, think, what would your customers want, what do they expect from you, how can you best deliver things? Your main focus should be to provide a positive customer experience in order to gain a competitive advantage.

Apologize when you’re wrong and not able to provide a timely resolution. Make sure your apologies are empathetic enough. The entire concept of apologies is important to get right. Better start inculcating it to your support from today onwards.

Read more: How to Choose the Best SMB Customer Support Software.

9. Beware of The Cliff of Dissatisfaction

It is a term used for the moment when a customer loses patience with your business. For example, Starbucks knows exactly how long it takes until a customer is too frustrated to wait any longer. Their strategy to overcome this problem is that they go ahead and open another Starbucks nearby.

Now, for small businesses, this is an extremely tricky thing to do. Nonetheless, being aware of the concept of the cliff of dissatisfaction is an essential first step. It’ll allow you to devise creative responses. For example, adding a knowledge base for your customers so that they can resolve minor queries themselves, or offering a callback technology so that they don’t have to wait on hold, and/or providing support via texts (something that most customers appreciate as it conforms to their own schedules).

The Bottomline

Once you learn how to deliver superior customer support, nobody–literally nobody–is going to be able to take it away from you. Today’s businesses are so much more than just copying designs, mimicking prices, and so forth. The meaning of the word competition has changed and evolved into something so unique that only unique and creative strategies would sustain. It is your passion and thoughtfulness that will truly help you provide a superior customer experience than your competitors. And, of course, investing in the right small business helpdesk software goes without saying.

Begin The Revolution

Being small is no excuse to being slow, unorganized, or to have customer support that is clunky and inefficient. Pick DeskXpand. We can help you revolutionize your customer support.

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